File Naming Convention Best Practices in Construction Projects

Construction DMS - Onsite
December 9, 2022

Guide to increasing project efficiency by standardizing the file naming convention of documents (using ISO 19650)

One of the most neglected subjects discussed at the beginning of a new construction project is the information management aspect. Stakeholders might adopt basic naming conventions for their documents and face major issues later because of the lack of long-term vision. Applying a good document numbering  standard is highly rewarding  specifically with mega projects

Where to start?

ISO 19650 is an international standard you can start using for your document file naming. Read on to learn how to implement it.

The ISO 19650 File Naming Convention Explained

The suite of ISO 19650 standards provides a unified approach for document management, specifically in the naming of these documents. Here’s how you can start naming your documents based on this ISO standard format.

As shown in the diagram above, this file naming convention is broken down based on the following fields:

  1. Project
  2. Originator
  3. Volume or system
  4. Locations
  5. Type
  6. Discipline or role 
  7. Classification
  8. Number 
  9. Suitability
  10. Revision
  1. Project

The first part of the name of any document based on ISO 19650 is the name of the entire project. This name is chosen by the developer, owner, or consultant and needs to be added at the beginning of all document names. It’s represented by an acronym or a few numbers. When the name is chosen, it must be consistent across documents produced by any stakeholder; consultants, contractors, or subcontractors.

  1.  Originator

The second part of your document name ranges between three to six characters in letters or numbers. It identifies the organization responsible for producing the information within that specific document. 

Take a mega project as an example; several organizations participate in its construction. So to ensure accountability and responsibility, each organization identifies its work by adding its acronyms in this section.

  1. Volume or System

The third section relates to the subdivision of a project, specifically the volume or system, where you use 1 or 2 characters to show the volumes referred to in that document. Most projects would end up with ZZ or XX in the volume field; ZZ means all volumes are referred to, and XX means none are referred to.

  1. Location

To define each level/location within the project, it is recommended that the code for the level/location field is two characters in length. This section in your document’s name shows the location of the information in this document on the map.

  1. Type

For any document, you need to specify the type of information it has; a drawing, a location model, a typical assembly, or a detailed information document. Of course, there are standard codes for drawings, models, and documents. Below is a list of common ones and the acronyms associated with them.

  1. Discipline or Role

This part further specifies the role of the organization responsible for the documents. Here you specify if an architect, an interior designer, or a mechanical engineer, for example, is responsible for the document. 

To avoid confusion in larger projects, the document controlling department might need to add another letter or number for the same discipline handled by different companies.

  1. Classification

This optional field helps describe the asset represented in the document. For example, it can specify the classification of a plumbing document. 

  1. Number

The last part of your file naming convention is the number used to create groupings of information. Once specified, the number length must be consistent within the project documentation. 

It’s preferable to keep the number as short as possible, even though there is no minimum or maximum length specified internationally.  What’s agreed upon, however, is that zeros are used at the beginning of these numbers to maintain the length.

  1. & 10. Suitability and Revision

Although these two parts come after the Numbering section, they’re not considered the last part since they are conditioned by only being available on documents supported with metadata.

The Suitability specifies the progress of working on the document; eg. S1 Suitable for coordination, S2 Suitable for Information. 

The Revision section represents the revisions done for the project, specifically on that document.

Creating the naming convention mentioned above, based on ISO 19650, can seem like a tardy process,  but having a DMS, such as the one provided by Onsite, with file naming conventions automated, will be incredibly helpful in optimizing your document management processes.

How much will you save by having a DMS that enables automated document numbering based on any format you choose?

Combining proven, effective, and simplified document management processes with a powerful DMS enhances the overall performance of construction projects and fully enables your digital transformation. 

By using internationally identified naming convention templates (such as the ISO  19650 mentioned above) through Onsite’s DMS, you’ll better streamline your project workflow, the storage and retrieval of documents, and the execution of plans.

Onsite’s  DMS allows your Document Controllers to simply rely on the system for naming the documents and changing revisions and versions based on the project settings agreed upon with all stakeholders

We’ve combined our knowledge of robust technology with advanced modules and features along with our years of experience in the construction industry to create the ultimate DMS solution to manage and control your project documents.

Here are some other examples of how Onsite DMS makes your project execution more efficient:

  • Centralizes all project documents in one place; easy to find; no document is ever lost
  • Allows full visibility and control over the project’s documentation
  • Simplifies processes by digitizing the work
  • Allows you to go 100% paperless
  • Reduces costs and increases team efficiency 
  • Automates notifications/reminders/alerts and improves communication between the different stakeholders

With Onsite’s DMS, you’ll be saving costs and time by optimizing the way you manage your documents, and automating the entire submittals and approval workflows.

Book a demo today to discover the true power of Onsite’s DMS.